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Rich Slomko & Jeffrey Steuben - Celebrating 25 Years of the Cool Roof Rating Council - PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

rrt - s5 - crrc - podcast transcription - rich - jeffrey
April 20, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Rich Slomko and Jeffrey Steuben from the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC). You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.

Speaker 1: Welcome to Roofing Road Trips with Heidi. Explore the roofing industry through the eyes of a long-term professional within the trade. Listen for insights, interviews, and exciting news in the roofing industry today.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Hello and welcome to another Roofing Road Trips from Roofers Coffee Shop. My name is Heidi Ellsworth, and we are here today to talk about something that is near and dear to anybody in roofing, and that is cool roofs. We are here with the experts from Cool Roof Rating Council, and they have some great information about what they've been doing with cool roofs for the last 25 years and some very cool annual meeting that's coming up to celebrate that 25th anniversary. So I would love to introduce Rich Slomko with AMETEK Atlas Testing and Jeffrey Steuben with Cool Roofs. Gentlemen, welcome to the show.

Rich Slomko: Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Jeffrey Steuben: Thanks, Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Well, I would love to start out, before we get into all the fun stuff, with some introductions. So Jeff, why don't we start with you? If you could introduce yourself, talk a little bit about CRRC and your involvement.

Jeffrey Steuben: Sure thing. So yeah, my name's Jeffrey Steuben and I am the Executive Director of the Cool Roof Rating Council, and I've actually been with the organization for I think 12 years now, going on 13, so been involved with the organization for a long time. I originally started in the technical role, so focused more on the technical committee and our technical research before taking over the leadership role.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Excellent. And Rich, tell us a little bit about yourself and your company.

Rich Slomko: Yep. I worked for Atlas Material Testing, which is the business unit of Amma Tech. Been involved with the CRRC for almost 20 years now. The Atlas facilities of Miami, Florida, Phoenix, Arizona, and Ohio, they were the first CRRC accredited test farms. So in order to rate a product in the CRRC, you must test outdoor in these three locations for three years. I started as a member of the technical committee, then Vice Chair of the technical committee, board member, and now I'm Chair of the Board of Directors. So spent quite a lot of time going to different levels i the CRRC.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Wow. Congratulations. What a great accomplishment. That's awesome. Well, good. Well, gentlemen, you are celebrating your 25th anniversary. That's so exciting. Jeff, can you tell us a little bit about the cool Roof rating Council, CRRCC, and the 25-year history?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah, sure. Well, the CRRC, to dial it back way to the beginning, it was established in 1998 as a 501 C3 nonprofit organization. It was founded as a really wide collaboration of a variety of stakeholders. We've got government agencies like the California Energy Commission, the Department of Energy, the EPA, nonprofit advocacy organizations, energy utilities, the national labs like Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley, and many, many people in the roofing industry all got together to found this organization. The organizing purpose of the CRRC was to address the urban heat island effect and the effects that the urban heat island effect has on energy use, pollution, human health.

We basically do that through three ways. Ratings, research, and education. One of the key drivers of the organization, early on and continues to be, is that the CRRC provides independent third party ratings of the radiative properties of roofing products so that the state of California can rely on that for their compliance and enforcement with their requirement in their building code, which is called Title 24 part six. So that was sort of the early purpose, the sort of key driver early on. We have gone on to become a valuable independent resource of radiative property information for a lot of different jurisdictions outside of California, green building programs around the globe. We've actually developed our own ASTM test methods, we put together our own ANSI standard, the ANSI CRRC S-100. There's a long history and a lot of different things that we've been working on since then.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Wow. And so important for what is happening environmentally, and with sustainability. All the right things, you've been doing it for 25 years. It's not just starting now, although some people think so. When I think about, Rich, how you've been involved over many years and how you already told us how you got involved. So let's talk about now. You've been Chairman for the last five to six years, which is just so impressive. What are some of the things that have happened during that time to really kind of take CRRC to that next level?

Rich Slomko: Yeah, one of the most important things that got us to that next level was going from working with consultants to our own in-house staff. We've seen the availability of our staff to work more closely with the members on certain projects, getting more projects in hand, growing the staff. It's been a really big benefit for the CRRC. We have an excellent staff led by Jeff and his team, so we're very happy about that. 2018 we did our online portal, which is another reason we helped to streamline the process within the CRRC. Our members are much happier with much ease of use using this portal than in the past. 2019 we looked to expand the CRRC, we're actually working with walls now so we're not just roof, we're roofs and walls. So we've seeing some very good interest in that as well. As we continue looking into the future, we're still looking at other ways that we can help rate materials, which is what we do. We are a rating organization

Heidi J. Ellsworth: As we look going toward the annual meeting, Jeff, can you tell us about this event? Walk us through it and what should everyone expect?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah. The annual meeting is a yearly tradition that we have with the CRRC, and we have CRRC members but also non-members come together to hear about the latest industry research and CRRC activities. It's an opportunity to provide input on the direction of the organization. Our members vote on our new Board of Directors and also just socialize and network with other folks in the cool roof industry. We really highlight a series of guest presenters each year, and the point is to find people that are doing interesting work. We have research, we have different programs, we try to cover those emerging technologies and sort of cutting edge things that our audience would find really interesting. This year it is our 25th anniversary, we're going to be holding it on June 14th at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. We're also going to have a post-event reception and networking opportunity to socialize and have drinks. We're also having some raffle prizes that we're going to bring in. Since the CRRC is headquartered in Portland, we're going to have some Oregon centric prizes to win.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. Well, I'm a little partial to Oregon myself living right here in the middle of the state. It seems like there's so much that has gone on just in the last couple years from the federal government when it comes to sustainability and really bringing that focus to the environment. Jeff, you're fitting right in with everything that's really at the top of everyone's head right now going through that. So talk to us just a little bit about your guest presenters.

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah. This year we have three different presenters, and we try to pull from different areas of expertise. So academia, nonprofit organizations, and even industry come in and present. So this year we have Chris Kirkendal from Mule Hyde products, and they're going to give a presentation on basically a marketing campaign that they ran in conjunction with Coors Light. So it's the first campaign of this nature where they went up on roofs and drew attention to the cooling benefits of cool roofs, which is some really neat imagery comes out of that campaign.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: With Coors. That's interesting.

Jeffrey Steuben: With Coors Light, yeah. Sort of an unexpected partner, but that's pretty cool. We also have a sort of more technical presentation hearing about the development of a super white paint technology that's developed by a team at Purdue University led by Dr. Xiulin Ruan. He's going to basically talk about how that paint works, uses radiative cooling, as well as being highly reflective to not only reduce the heat, but also actually cool down overall. So this is sort of a new development really, again, pushing the envelope of the technology. Then lastly, we have Charlotte Steiner from the Natural Resources Defense Council, and they are going to be talking about their cool roof efforts involved in India where, as you can imagine, it's a very hot place. It's a strong sort of public health situation there, and there's a lot that cool roofs can do to help with the population there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Wow, really interesting. Rich, you've been going to these annual meetings for a long time. Why should people attend?

Rich Slomko: It's a good way to meet others in the industry, to really have this open conversation, to socialize, to really understand what the Cool Roof Rating Council is doing to help this industry. You'll hear some really good guest speakers, which will definitely bring up some questions. There'll be some Q and As that'll maybe help you in your organization for your growth. It's in Las Vegas, which is a great area to be at this time of year.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah. Cosmopolitan's pretty nice.

Rich Slomko: Exactly. It's a beautiful hotel. The CRRC puts on a good show. You will have a good time no matter who you are, you're going to have a good time. You're going to connect with people you maybe haven't seen in a few years as well. So it's a really good socializing event. It's a good way to get the [inaudible 00:09:54] of the CRRC out there.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Yeah, that's great. That's excellent. So Jeff, how can people register and attend?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah. Well, registration is open. All you have to do is go to coolroofs.org, go to our website, and there's a link front and center to the registration site. Registration is open until June 5th.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Oh, great. So plenty of time, but do it quick. I'm doing mine. Roofer's Coffee Shop will be there. We'll be bringing our cameras. We're really excited to be a part of this. And Jeff, as people are going to this annual meeting, obviously the great presenters, but some of the things that they should be thinking about. Just share again, what are some of the new things with CRRC that attendees who are coming to this annual meeting should kind of look forward to talking about?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah. Well, we always give updates on the organization, and as Rich mentioned, we've created a new rating program for wall products, exterior walls. So this is really the first time we're going to be presenting on the first year of operation of that program, so that's I think pretty exciting, and lot of other updates relevant to the organization. One of the things that happened in 2022 was that the Energy Star for Roofing program sunsetted, and so the CRRC is kind of the only game in town at this point. We're the premier resource for this type of data, and we're sort of filling that gap that the Energy Star program, now that they're gone, has left a hole for us to fill.

We're going to be seeing a lot of just updates on the organization and we like to try to give everybody a sense of what the CRRC is working on. One thing that's interesting is that early this year, we actually conducted a strategic plan update, so we're going to be presenting on the progress that we've developed towards our newest strategic plan. So I think that's going to be an interesting way to map out the future of the CRRC.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I mean, talk about an important meaning to be at as you're talking about the future and strategic planning and everything like that. So this is the time to get involved. You're right, with what's happened with Energy Star, there's no better time than to be really involved with CRRC to be able to make sure that everyone is meeting all the building codes, all the regulations, everything else that's out there. Rich, just some final thoughts on why people should not just attend this annual meeting, but why should people be involved or be a member of CRRC?

Rich Slomko: Yeah. Besides all the projects that Jeff had mentioned, the strategic plan is something that's really exciting. Really come and see what the plan is for the future, how the CRRC's going to expand, how the CRRC is going to grow. We have a lot of great industry minds within the CRRC, so to see what those minds have come up with it'll be very interesting for those who are not directly involved with the CRRC to see what direction the group is going. And again, it's going to be a good time. Presenters, updates, I think everybody will have a good time at the annual meeting.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Jeff, let's end with if people are interested in getting more involved with CRRC, beyond the annual meeting of course, we want everybody to go to that to meet and see what's all happening. But if they want to become members, if they want to get more involved beyond some of these committees, how do they do that?

Jeffrey Steuben: Yeah. Well, again, I'm going to mention our website coolroofs.org. Everything is on there. We have a list of the committees, we have a newsletter that you can sign up for, and basically just reach out to us if you see something that you're interested in getting more involved in. We have a technical committee, we have an education committee, we have a committee that's focused on our wall rating program, among others. There's a variety of ways that people of different interests can get involved with the organization. Or just sign up for our newsletter and get the regular updates that we send out. We send out four updates per year, so just quarterly. Short little newsletters that people can get a sense of what the CRRC's working on and just keep up with the news.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: I love it. I love it. Well, thank you gentlemen. Thank you for sharing all this. I'm very excited to be at your annual meeting in June. For everybody out there, you can find all this information, of course, on Roofer's Coffee Shop, on the CRRC directory. So if you haven't been able to catch any of this, if you're driving, you're just listening, you can get it all there and get signed up and get to the site from there. So Rich, Jeff, thank you again for being here today.

Rich Slomko: You're very welcome. Look forward to seeing you, Heidi, at the annual meeting.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Me too.

Jeffrey Steuben: All right, thanks, Heidi.

Heidi J. Ellsworth: Thank you. And thank all of you for listening.

This is the kind of stuff this is really will make a difference in your business. Get involved, find out what's happening out there, and being on the front edge of sustainability and environment with an organization that's been doing it for 25 years. They know what they're doing and they're going to have a great celebration of that 25th anniversary in June at The Cosmopolitan. So be sure to be there on June 14th.

Thank you all for listening, and please check out all of our episodes under the Roofing Road Trips under the RLW navigation on rooferscoffeeshop.com, or on your favorite podcast channel. Be sure to subscribe and hit those notifications so you don't miss a single episode, and we'll be seeing you next time on Roofing Road Trips.

Speaker 1: Make sure to subscribe to our channel and leave a review. Thanks for listening. This has been Roofing Road Trips with Heidi from the rooferscoffeeshop.com


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